Many members of our Section participated in the SOAP campaign before the Super Bowl in 2014. We distributed thousands of bars of soap with the HT hotline phone number printed on their labels to hotels in northern New Jersey. The Coalition continues this project in 2015 in Essex and Middlesex counties and in 2016 in Atlantic and Union counties.
Many members of our Section spoke with our local mayors and freeholders, and successfully requested that they issue proclamations declaring that January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month and January 11th is Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Now the Coalition is expanding this effort by advocating for the NJ State League of Municipalities to pass a more binding resolution to institutionalize these declarations and also to create a non-accusatory rating of municipalities’ efforts to end Human Trafficking.
This year, the Human Trafficking Awareness Day official observance will take place on Saturday, January 16, at Calvary Temple in Wayne. The Coalition has over 110 member organizations, and the Church Abolition Network is convening this event. Unfortunately for NCJW, this will take place on Shabbat, so we cannot officially support it. However, for more information, you can visit the Coalition website, www.NJhumantrafficking.org, or write to CAN@calvarynj.com.
The main focus of the Coalition this year will be on prevention, done through education at high schools and colleges with the aim of engaging students and teachers in fighting human trafficking.
The Coalition has received a grant to purchase supplies to make plywood silhouettes which each member organization can embellish to represent a victim of Human Trafficking. This is where our own Section can be a leader. We would like to reach out to student groups to encourage them to participate in this project. This includes not only local schools, but synagogue youth groups. This project isn’t limited to just students. We can embellish a silhouette ourselves.
The silhouettes will be displayed at community events to promote public awareness of this important issue. Our Section can help to make this happen by organizing a community event on a Sunday in early April that would include a dramatic presentation, a fair trade goods sale, and—just to make things interesting—a judging of the silhouettes. The grant money includes funds for prizes to give to organizations to help fund their HT projects.
If you would like to participate in the silhouette or the SOAP projects, please contact Susan Neigher at firstname.lastname@example.org.